LONDON, November 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation has this week made a £5million donation to the British Lung Foundation to fund vital research into mesothelioma, matching UK government funding announced in March. The donation is the largest ever made to the BLF.
The landmark gift from the charitable organisation of Canadian philanthropist Victor Dahdaleh will support the research teams at the University of Leicester and Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridge, both of which will join forces with the government-funded National Mesothelioma Research Centre at Imperial College to develop new treatments for the disease.
In a further boost to mesothelioma research and to maximise patient benefit, the British Lung Foundation will also establish a Mesothelioma Research Network, to include the research programmes at Leicester, Papworth and Imperial together with other specialist mesothelioma centres across the UK.
Speaking at the announcement on Tuesday, Victor Dahdaleh said: "The Foundation is delighted to be working with the British Lung Foundation and the teams at Leicester, Papworth and Imperial to support this vital research, ultimately to find a cure for mesothelioma.
"While the UK already has world leading expertise in studying and treating mesothelioma, we hope that our donation, matching the government funding announced earlier this year, will enhance research programmes and enable closer collaboration between all those working hard to bring tangible benefits to patients affected by this dreadful disease.
"The professionalism and commitment already shown by all the teams involved give us confidence that together we can make a real difference over the next four years."
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which affects the chest or abdomen, and is particularly associated with exposure to asbestos fibres. There are more than 5,400 sufferers in the UK, and numbers have increased over the last four decades. With no cure, 2,500 people die in Britain each year from the disease, often with frightening speed - the average survival time after diagnosis is just 11 months.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation said:
"This unprecedented and generous donation from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation means we can co-ordinate a network of researchers into mesothelioma and ensure that the number and scope of research projects and clinical trials can be greatly increased. This investment will help to speed up much needed progress in finding better treatments and, eventually, a cure for this awful killer disease.
"We will continue to pursue further funding from individuals and industry, including insurers and businesses to secure the long-term future of the Mesothelioma Research Network. We won't stop until a cure is found."
The donation from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation is the latest in a long history of support for health-related issues around the world. In Canada last year, the Foundation funded the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health, a state-of-the art research facility at York University in Toronto. The institute, which was funded by a record $20million donation to the university, will seek to reframe the ways in which high- and low-income countries collaborate on global health challenges.
At McGill University in Montreal, the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation this year funded the establishment of a new chair in neurosciences, which will integrate the university's neurology, psychiatry and rehabilitation science expertise. The Foundation also doubled an existing scholarship endowment, which gives overseas students the opportunity to study at the university.
Back in the UK, the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation supports efforts to find new treatments for a range of cardiovascular diseases, and has funded research at Imperial College London and Royal Brompton Hospital in London and Middlesex.
Alongside health and wellness, the Foundation is committed to giving young disadvantaged people opportunities for higher education at some of the world's top universities. Through Victor Dahdaleh's strong affiliations with a number of leading academic institutions, his charitable organisation has set up several scholarship programmes aimed at students from lower income countries.
Victor Dahdaleh is the owner and chairman of Dadco, a privately owned investment, manufacturing and trading group established in 1915. A lifelong promoter of closer collaboration between Canada and the UK, he served as president of the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce from 2004 to 2009.
For more information on the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation, visit victordahdalehfoundation.com